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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 09 Apr 2013
First indigenously upgraded AN-32 to roll out this month
Vijay Mohan/TNS
Chandigarh, April 8
The IAF expects the first indigenously upgraded AN-32 transport aircraft to roll out from its technical facilities this month, marking a new chapter in the flying workhorse’s history.

Besides an increased lifespan, the upgraded aircraft incorporate several new features and modifications to enhance operational capabilities and crew comfort. The project is being executed by No.1 Base Repair Depot (BRD), Kanpur.

The aircraft will be upgraded locally at the rate of six aircraft a year, Air Marshal Jagdish Chandra, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, told The Tribune during his visit here.

Inducted in the 1980s, the IAF has about 110 AN-32 tactical transporters which form the backbone of its airlift capabilities and perform vital communication and air drop roles. A mid-life upgrade project for this fleet was initiated in 2009, with a $400 million contract being signed with Ukraine, under which some aircraft were to be modified by the original equipment manufacturer in that country and the remaining being upgraded by NO.1 BRD under transfer of technology. The first batch of six upgraded AN-32s received from Ukraine was inducted in 2011.

Under the upgrade project, the technical life of the aircraft is being increased from 25 to 40 years enabling them to remain in service till 2025 and even beyond. Other significant additions include a tactical collision avoidance system on all aircraft, advanced avionics and display systems resulting in a “semi-glass cockpit”, satellite navigation aids, a new oxygen supply system and better radio transmission systems.

More significantly, some success has been achieved at reducing the noise and vibration levels. In select areas noise levels has been reduced by 15 decibels. The AN-32 was specially designed to meet Indian requirements if a “hot and high performance”, which led to more powerful engines with larger propellers being used to cater for operations at high altitudes or at high temperatures. This has led to higher cabin noise and airframe vibrations. Better crew seats have also been incorporated to improve comfort and reduce fatigue.

Local boost

    The AN-32 transport aircraft, Inducted in the 1980s, will be upgraded locally at the rate of six aircraft a year
    Besides an increased lifespan, the upgraded aircraft incorporate several new features and modifications to enhance operational capabilities and crew comfort
    Under the upgrade project, the technical life of the aircraft is being increased from 25 to 40 years enabling them to remain in service till 2025 and even beyond
US-Pak secret deal
A dangerous precedent

DRONE attacks by the US on Pakistan’s tribal areas are likely to be discussed intensely during the election campaigns in Pakistan in the days to come. The latest cause for this is the Western media highlighting the fact that the killings by CIA-operated unmanned aerial vehicles were possible because of a secret deal between the US and Pakistan. According to New York Times, the deal had it that the CIA drones would not touch the areas where Pakistani nuclear plants are located and the sites in occupied Kashmir where training camps were run for terrorists for targeting India. Since the secret deal was entered into in 2004, when Gen Pervez Musharraf was the President of Pakistan, the former army chief, trying his luck in the elections, will have all the explaining to do in this regard.

The serious questions that arise are: Why did the US keep quiet when it knew that PoK had terrorist training camps as secretly admitted by the Pakistani authorities? The deal exposes the hollowness of the US-led drive against global terrorism which led to massive displacement in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas. It clearly establishes that Washington DC is not bothered about the activities of the terrorist groups whose targets do not include the US. This also shows that the US looks at the problem of terrorism from a narrow angle of safeguarding only American interests.

The US-Pakistan secret agreement on drone attacks needs to be debated thoroughly in India too in the interest of peace and stability in South Asia. The US must be told to bring to light all the details in this regard so that this kind of a dangerous deal is never clinched again. The US can say that the subject was of a very sensitive nature and, therefore, it had to be a secret arrangement. But that will not help Washington DC save its skin. So far as the then Pakistan government is concerned, it is bound to be condemned as being anti-people. The Pakistani masses’ faith in their rulers will get further shaken with the revelations about the shameful deal.
Remain updated on China, Antony tells Army commanders
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, April 8
China and its rapidly growing military activities figured prominently at the conference of Indian Army Commanders that got underway today. Sources said Defence Minister AK Antony asked the Army top brass to remain updated on China’s military growth and plan India’s defence accordingly.

The Army is scheduled to conduct a joint field exercise with the People’s Liberation Army of China at the end of this year.

The five-day conference, being attended by all General Officers Commanding-in-Chief (GoC-in-Cs), is a brainstorming session during which all important issues will be taken up. During the conference, senior officers will be graded by the top brass for further promotions.

Antony talked about China and how the Army would also have to “factor it in alongside threats from other areas like Pakistan”. Antony did not miss out on warning the commanders about the threats from neighbourhood and the continuance of terror camps in PoK.

New Delhi and Beijing have a 100-year-old dispute over the demarcation of border in the Himalayas. Vast sections are disputed with either side laying claims and counter-claims.

The annual defence report for 2012-13 released by the Ministry of Defence on March 21 said: “India remains conscious and watchful of the implications of the China’s military profile in the immediate and extended neighbourhood. India is also taking necessary measures to develop the requisite capabilities to counter any adverse impact on its security.”

Over the past few months, China has launched a transport plane, Y-20, which hugely increases its ability to lift a large group of armed troops and land them anywhere on the Tibetan plateau, just north of India. Its sea-borne aircraft carrier, Liaoning, originally procured from Ukraine at the fall of the Soviet Union, is sailing.
CISF forces armed with hi-tech weaponry
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 8
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has started using two high-precision weapons — MP5 rifle and Glock pistol — in “crowded areas” such as Delhi metro stations and major airports across India to improve its operational capabilities.

By using such weapons, the CISF aims at minimising collateral damage. The force is already using the two weapons in Naxal-affected areas and for VVIP security.

The Glock is a semi-automatic pistol produced by an Austrian weapons-company by the same name. The MP5 is a sub-machine gun developed by German arms manufacturing company Heckler & Koch and used by security forces all over the world.

The two weapons are also used by India’s elite counter-terror and anti-hijacking force — the National Security Guard. The Indian Navy’s Marine Commandos (MARCOS) is also using these weapons.

A month ago, the CISF procured a new set of MP5 rifles and Glock pistols to replace older weapons — 9mm carbine and 9mm pistol.

Sources say the carbine is not very reliable with a number of innocent lives having been lost in accidental fire in the past.

“The carbine also has the problem of jamming. The MP5s don’t have any such a problem. They look smarter as well. Although, the 9mm pistol is a fine weapon, the Glocks are far more accurate,” says a source.

The MP5s and Glocks can be easily cleaned, unlike the carbines and the 9mm pistols that require particular cleaning oil.

The new weapons are also lighter. The Glock has a “safe action” mechanism consisting of three-way safety feature to prevent accidental fire.

“The MP5s and Glock pistols will increase our operational efficiency. Since these are high-precision weapons, we will use these in crowded areas,” the source adds.

The CISF came up in 1969 as a specially trained force for providing security to public sector undertakings. The force is currently deployed at 307 undertakings, including nuclear facilities, airports, seaports, power plants and private installations.

The CISF uses advanced weapons at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. Both airports have been categorised as “hyper-sensitive”.

The new guns will also be used at 59 other airports being guarded by the force. Delhi metro stations are also high-priority facilities for the CISF.

The Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) of the CISF located near the airports will be provided with these weapons. The QRTs are the first responders to any contingency such as counter-terror and anti-hijacking operations.

Lethal Firepower

    MP5 rifle is a sub-machine gun developed by German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch; is light weight
    Glock is a semi-automatic pistol produced by an Austrian firm; has a three-way safety mechanism
    Both weapons will replace 9mm carbines and 9mm pistols currently being used by security forces
Army successful in Agni-II missile test
Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a special wing of Indian Armed Forces, conducted a user specific trial of 2000 km plus range nuclear capable Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) Agni-II from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Sunday.

Defence sources said the indigenously built missile was successfully test-fired from the launching complex- IV of Wheeler Island, a part of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 10.
22 am.

The successful launch, conducted with logistic support by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), once again proved the reliability of medium range surface to surface missiles.

Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems) of DRDO and Agni Programme Director Avinash Chander said already inducted and a part of country’s arsenal for strategic deterrence, Agni-II was launched as a training exercise by the Armed Forces.

“The test was perfect and the missile performed as expected and covered the desired range as coordinated.
It has met all mission objectives.

Two ships located near the target point have tracked the missile in the final stage.

It was a fantastic mission accomplished,” he said.

The two stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.

The missile, which has a length of 21 metres and a diameter of 1.
3 metre, weighs around 17 tonnes.

The missile, sources said, covered 1270 km in nearly 500 seconds.

An SFC spokesman said the flight, most importantly, conveyed their preparedness to meet any eventuality.

The mission fully validated the operational readiness and also the reliability of the missile system, he stated.

Agni-II is one of the key weapon systems of the country’s nuclear deterrence doctrine.

It was first test-fired in 1999 from the same location and inducted in 2004.

Along with Agni-II, 700 km range Agni-I and 3000 km range Agni-III have already been inducted in the Armed Forces.

After the successful test of Agni-II missile, Indian defence scientists are now eyeing for second experimental test of the country’s longest range nuclear tipped missile Agni-V in June.

Its first test on April 19 last year was a huge success.

The DRDO is also planning to conduct the second trial of Nirbhay cruise missile within next couple of months.

The maiden trial of the missile was a failure last month.

Besides, a few more user tests of Agni-III, Agni-I, Prithvi-II, Akash and developmental trials of Prahar, Astra and Helicopter-mounted Nag (HELINA) missiles have been planned in coming months.
Antony warns Army against threats from China, Pakistan
NEW DELHI: India's deep unease over China's growing military might and assertiveness as well as intransigence about the boundary dispute resonated at a military brass conclave on Monday, with defence minister AK Antony also underlining the threat posed by the expansive nexus forged between Beijing and Islamabad.

China's approach to India on the long-standing boundary dispute and other issues, even after the recent leadership change in Beijing, "is not likely to change" in the foreseeable future. Consequently, the Indian armed forces need to "constantly develop" their capabilities to achieve "minimum credible deterrence" against China, said Antony.

The minister, addressing the closed-door Army commanders' conference, did point out the government was trying to resolve issues with China in a "peaceful" manner, and also cited the new bilateral boundary management mechanism as "a positive development".

But Antony also stressed it was crucial to modernize the armed forces to counter China's "military assertiveness", including its massive development of military infrastructure along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as in other neighbouring countries, like the Gilgit-Baltistan areas of Pakistan, said MoD sources.

India has belatedly taken some steps to strategically counter China but much more needs to be done at a rapid clip. While IAF is now progressively basing Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in the north-east and the Navy is bolstering force-levels on the eastern seaboard, the Army's Rs 81,000-crore plan to raise a new mountain strike corps with associated structures is yet to take off.

Holding that the recent Chinese takeover of Pakistan's strategically-located Gwadar port near the Iranian border has further strengthened the economic and security linkages between the two countries, Antony promised all government support to the armed forces for "the necessary measures" needed to tackle "any emerging threats".

Pakistan, he said, poses "a unique threat" due to its rapidly growing nuclear arsenal, military modernization with the help of China and the US, and its continuing support to a large number of terrorist groups undertaking "proxy war" in Jammu and Kashmir.

While India "welcomes" the forthcoming elections in Pakistan — to be held on May 11 — it is unlikely its "anti-India stance" and its "obsession" with J&K will ever abate. With the terror infrastructure in both Pakistan and PoK still very much intact, India will need to maintain its policy of deterrence against its western neighbour.

Moreover, with Afghanistan headed for instability after the US withdrawal next year, Pakistan's continuing support to the Taliban and inroads into the country is a source of worry. India needs to be prepared to deal with "any spillover effect" as well, added Antony.
Peace and tranquility along the Sino-India border, says Army chief
Barrackpore: Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh on Sunday said there is "peace and tranquility" along the Line of Actual Control with China. "There is no problem. There is peace and tranquility on the Sino-India border," he told reporters Barrackpore in reply to a query.

Singh's statement came a day ahead of the bi-annual Army commanders' conference in Delhi starting on Monday. The conference will be attended by the six operational commanders and the Army Training Commander and would be inaugurated by Defence Minister AK Antony. Upgrade in military infrastructure in the northeastern states Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam along the China border is expected to be discussed at the meet, Army officials said in Delhi.

In the recent past, the Army has raised several new formations including two Mountain Divisions in the region and is also planning to raise a new Mountain Strike Corps there along with the deployment of assets of the IAF to meet any security challenge.
Reduction of defence forces?
Monday, April 08, 2013 - In a recent seminar, Haji Adeel of ANP raised two points. Reduction in defense budget and change in Command Structure of the army. According to him it is Parliament which is supreme and should be sole body to decide on defence matters, the army, and foreign policy. Mr. Mushahid Hussain also spoke on the occasion, according to Mr. Mushahid Defence and foreign policies should be the domain of Parliament. There, recently have been spate of articles advancing this vary argument, and editorials professing the same. There seems to be a specific agenda. True, it is a long cherished desire of the politicians and political parties to take control of the armed forces. A political party firmly believed, the armed forces are the only stumbling block in the free for all governance.

True, parliament has supremacy but the members have to be spotless and honest. With over two third members under the threat of fake degrees, corruption charges against many including two former Prime Ministers, dual nationalities and weak Governance does not allow much space to parliamentarian. During last five year left every institution of state mauled and crippled – Still politicians want to politicize the Armed Forces. They failed to converge on a cohesive policy to deal with terrorism, what to speak spelling out state policy at large. Foreign, Defence, Economic and Interiors policies flow from state objectives/aims. We are still unclear of the direction. Thus it is natural in the vacuum, major policy decisions shifted to Defence Establishment. It is a rule of law a vacuum can not remain unfilled. Work is like water, flow in the direction where it find spaces.

Argument, Pakistan Army never won a war and thus with diminishing threat from East, should be reduced in size to increase funding for social sector. Army won a war or not is a debatable issue but to perceive that threat from the East has diminished is naivety. With Cold Start doctrine in place, modernization of all the three arms of Indian Defence Forces, and ensuring Pakistan Army remain engaged on the Western front, the fact is threat has increased many fold. Indian and funding from others ensure fire continue burning on Western front. Second, argument, nuclear stand off between India/Pakistan facilitate reduction of conventional forces is proven wrong. War in Vietnam (USA- USSR) in Afghanistan (USA-USSR), Iraq and back home in escalation of tensions in 1984, 1990 and later in 2003 were all under Nuclear Umbrella. There is now pronounced threat of quick, short and surgical wars before red line is crossed. India must be able to wage a quick, decisive war (See India Defence Collage Studies). India waits for such opportunity by creating polarization within Pakistan — a la East Pakistan, like situation. Present balance of forces favour India. Pakistan can not change neighbors. There are no two opinion that Pakistan/India should have friendly relations. The clap has to be with two hands. With internal threat of terrorism in India, rise of extreme right under Moodi, Pakistan is no position to lower guard.

Pakistan armed forces structure is most tested and solid at levels, including operation. Policy formulation and command levels. Our politicians destroyed civil services, the back bone of good governance to induct incompetent cronies in lucrative jobs in higher bureaucracy. Politicians now want in-roads in the rank file of defence forces and polarize the one remaining institution. Undersigned was Secretary of the Committee in 1990 for Pakistan Army reorganization. Internal reviews and modernization of armed forces is a continuous process.

It is time, political parties seriously start work to strengthen Parliament. Party policy should be spelled by party spokesman and not any one who desire to score points. Initiate national debate on important issues before taking any decision, curb corruption, merit be the rule. Parliament then should set the policy guidelines. Parliament is policy formulation body and to legislate. It does not take over executive functions. —The writer, Brigadier (R) SJ (Bar), is defence & political analyst and veteran of 1965 and 1971 wars.

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